Cambridge experts on the UK General Election 2024

University researchers examine some of the issues facing parties and the British public during the election campaign – from taxes and voter turnout to misinformation and artificial intelligence.

As election day looms, James Helm, the University's Director of Communications, introduces a series setting out the thoughts of leading academics on some of the biggest themes facing the UK at this crucial moment.

In the run up to July 4th we will be offering expert insights on issues including misinformation and democracy, living standards and the economy, voter turnout, race and the youth vote, plus AI and regulation. And we’ll get the views of some Cambridge students as they get to vote for the first time.

Cambridge is a wonderful place to study politics, or to get involved in it. Back in the late 1980s, mine was the first cohort of students which could study what was then called Social and Political Science all the way through their undergraduate lives to their finals.

As the 90s dawned, one of our option papers was focused on global security – essentially environmental politics – and was trailblazing at the time. The course has now blossomed and developed into the hugely popular Human, Social and Political Science course, or HSPS.

Of course, politics, and the big themes and challenges of this election, and those which our leading politicians – some of them educated here in Cambridge – are currently debating, stretches right across so many areas of academic study and specialism. That is obvious from the wide variety of areas of expertise of our contributors.

Each UK election has its own unique tone and context. Some elements have changed enormously, even since the dramatic outcome of 2010: the nature of well-honed digital campaigns, for example, and the ability to reach voters via the smartphone in their pockets and social media, or the growing concern around misinformation, which this series addresses. Trust, in politicians, government and media, continues to wane. Globally, democracy is facing fresh strains and challenges.

Many elements of UK elections still remain almost quaintly the same, however: the sight of politicians knocking on doors or travelling the country to meet and engage with voters, part of the colourful, energetic, sometimes desperate attempt to reach over the heads of commentators and speak to “ordinary voters” before the nation falls silent and voters finally go to the polls to deliver their verdicts.

Prof Helen Thompson

Helen Thompson is professor of political economy at Cambridge and co-host of the weekly political podcast These Times.

Her work examines the historical origins of the post-2008 economic and political world, as well as the political economy of oil, Brexit and the euro zone crisis.

Helen’s latest book, Disorder, looks at the overlapping geopolitical, economic, and political crises faced by Western democracies in the 2020s.

Prof Gina Neff

Gina Neff is the Director of the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy.

Her research focuses on the effects of the rapid expansion of our digital information environment on workers and workplaces and in our everyday lives.

Gina advises international organisations including UNESCO and the OECD, and leads strategy for Responsible AI UK.

Prof David Runciman

David Runciman is professor of politics at Cambridge and host of the weekly politics podcast ‘Past Present Future’.

He is an expert on modern political thought, with a particular focus on the history and future of democracy.

David’s most recent book, Confronting Leviathan, explores some of the most important thinkers and prominent ideas lying behind modern politics.

Prof Dame Diane Coyle

Diane Coyle co-directs the Bennett Institute where she heads up research under the themes of progress and productivity. 

Her latest book, 'Cogs and Monsters’, explores the challenges for economics in the context of digital transformation. 

Diane is also a Director of the Productivity Institute, a Fellow of the Office for National Statistics, and an expert adviser to the National Infrastructure Commission.

Prof Michael Kenny

Michael Kenny is the Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.

His research involves the politics of nationhood in the UK, and the policy dilemmas associated with 'left behind' communities.

Michael directs the “Place” research programme at the Bennett Institute, and his latest book, Fractured Union, explores the politics of sovereignty in the UK.

Lord Simon Woolley

Simon Woolley is Principal of Homerton College.

He founded Operation Black Vote in 1996, an NGO that works with ethnic minorities in the UK to increase participation in Parliament and public life. He served as an Equality and Human Rights Commissioner before creating the UK Government’s Race Disparity Unit.

Simon was knighted in June 2019 and was created a life peer in December of the same year. He sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords.

Prof Sander van der Linden

Sander van der Linden is an expert in how people are influenced by misinformation, and how they gain resistance to persuasion through "psychological inoculation". 

He also researches the psychology of conspiracy theories, radicalisation and polarisation. 

Sander serves on the World Health Organisation's (WHO) infodemic working group and advises governments and social media companies on how to combat the spread of misinformation.

Prof Deborah Prentice

Deborah Prentice became the University of Cambridge’s 347th Vice-Chancellor in 2023.

Deborah spent much of her career at Princeton University, where she chaired the Department of Psychology for 12 years, before serving as Dean of Faculty and then Provost.

Her academic expertise is in the psychology of social norms – particularly unwritten rules and conventions.

Prof Neil Lawrence

Neil Lawrence is the inaugural DeepMind Professor of Machine Learning at the University of Cambridge.

Neil has been working on machine learning models for over 20 years, and was formerly the Director of Machine Learning at Amazon.

His main interest is the interaction of machine learning with the physical world, including public understanding and policymaking around machine learning.

Neil’s latest book, The Atomic Human, released this month, examines the facets of human intelligence that can be replaced by machines, and what remains.

To arrange an interview with any Cambridge experts, or request an expert for a particular topic, please contact either:

Jessica Keating | |
Fred Lewsey |

Professor Sander van der Linden

Professor of Social Psychology in Society and Director of Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory.


  • The spread of misinformation
  • Decision-making
  • Conspiracy theories
  • Extremism
  • Effects of the media on decision-making
  • Social networks influence
  • Polarisation

Professor Dame Diane Coyle

Bennett Professor of Public Policy and Co-Director the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.


  • Economic policy and measurement
  • Workforce productivity
  • How economic policy can improve the world
  • Digital transformations impact on economies

Professor Peter Sloman

Professor and Senior Lecturer of British Politics.


  • Party politics
  • Elections and public policy
  • Political ideas
  • British political history
  • Economic and social policy
  • Histories of poverty and inequality 

Professor Michael Kenny

Director of the Bennett Institute for Public Policy.


  • Public policy
  • Governance
  • Territorial politics
  • British politics
  • Political ideas and ideologies

Professor Gina Neff

Executive Director of the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy at the University of Cambridge.


  • AI
  • Big tech
  • Communication platforms
  • Technology and democracy
  • Technological innovation
  • Digital transformation of industry

Professor Jeremy Green

Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies


  • The green economy
  • Interactions between climate change and capitalism
  • Global financial centres
  • Central banking

Dr James Wood

Senior Teaching Associate in Political Economy.


  • Economic policymaking
  • The construction of political and economic crises
  • The politics of homeownership and household debt

For the student perspective...

Mark Barrow
PhD student

A PhD Candidate in Politics and International Studies and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge Review of International Affairs.

Mark's PHD research is focused on international affairs, particularly international negotiation in areas of conflict and political instability.

Lucy White
MPhil Public Policy student

Lucy has previously worked in the House of Commons and was recently campaigning for the local elections on 2nd May 2024.

She can speak to party manifestos and how they compare across different political groups. 

Jack Liddell
PhD student

A PhD Candidate in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and a Research Assistant in the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh.

Jack's research is focused on constitutional and territorial politics in Scotland and the UK. He can speak to the UK Union and devolution, particularly Scottish politics and devolution. He also focuses on committees in the House of Commons and has worked extensively on committees in the House of Lords too.

Published 18 June 2024

Top image: British union jack flag and Big Ben Clock Tower and Parliament house at city of Westminster in the background. Getty images.

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